Editorial: School ruling

In the latest decision mapping out the state’s obligation to better serve students in poorer public schools, the state Supreme Court last week sent the problem back to Hartford’s politicians. “The plaintiffs have painted a vivid picture of an imperfect public educational system in this state that is straining to serve many students who, because their basic needs for, among other things, adequate parenting, financial resources, housing, nutrition and care for their physical and psychological health are not being met, cannot take advantage of the educational opportunities that the state is offering,” the high court said in CCJEF v. Rell. 

Beyond providing “the bare opportunity to receive the minimally adequate education,” the state should strive to assure “that the neediest children have the support that they need to actually take advantage of that opportunity.”

Well said.

But the courts shouldn’t “attempt by judicial fiat to eliminate all of the societal deficiencies that continue to frustrate the state’s educational efforts,” the ruling said.

The justices also reiterated that “the fact that wealthier school districts spent more per pupil than poorer districts by supplementing state educational funds with funds from local property taxes did not render the funding scheme unconstitutional.”

As Ridgefield school Superintendent Karen Baldwin observed in reacting to the decision: “The General Assembly must now step up …”